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Wednesday, 25 November 2015 15:47

Recycled materials will be used for creative inspiration in new arts and crafts supply shop

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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What others might see as junk, Nancy Currie wants to recycle into cool pieces of art.

She plans to show people how to re-use materials and explore their creative side at her new shop in downtown Swift Current.
The grand opening of her arts and crafts supply shop, Freestyle Art and Supplies, on the lower level of the Carmel Mall takes place Dec. 3.
The shop will stock a variety of recycled materials that can be used to create arts and crafts.
“I'll have lots of different crafts pre-made,” she said. “They’ll be hanging from the roof, hanging from the walls, they’ll be sitting on the floor everywhere. So there’ll be plenty of inspiration there for people to come in and see ‘Oh, you did that with that!’”
People will be able to fill different sized bags with materials from an assortment of bins and barrels that they can use to make crafts at home, or for a fee they can use the workspace in her shop to work on their art project.
She wants her shop to be a place where people can explore their creativity.
“Sometimes we don’t know how to do that and we don’t think we have it,” she said. “We’re there to bring out your inner artist that is yearning to shine.”
Her intention is to have arts and crafts workshops in the workspace area. Each workshop might be around a certain theme, for example creating something for the Christmas tree, or how to make something out of old socks.
“I’ll have examples of creations they can choose from,” she said.
She will also host formal workshops by different artists at the shop. There will already be two workshops in December.
“These are two that I know, so I got them to come right away,” she said. “Now it’s just a matter of searching and asking. I’m really excited to find out who’s going to come and what’s going to happen. I think it’s a great opportunity for artists to show their work too and to make money too. It’s nice for them to share their talents and inspire other people to be creative and imaginative.”
Regina-based graphic designer and artist Megan Currie, who grew up in Swift Current, will present a two-day workshop on Dec. 5 and 6. It is titled “Painting your spirit animal” and will be an introduction to woodlands style acrylic painting.
“She’ll have a talk about the traditions of First Nations at the same time as teaching you what colour is and how to use colour,” Nancy Currie said. “She’ll be teaching about the colour wheel and then she’ll be using acrylic paints and everyone will be walking away at the end of the class with a canvas painted of their spirit animal.”
The workshop will take place from noon to 3 p.m. Dec. 5 and from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 6. It is for ages 15 and older and those under 15 with art experience. The workshop fee of $65 includes all supplies.
Eastend artist Trea Jensen will present one-day workshops from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 12 and 13. Participants will learn how to make wire sculptures.
“She’s going to teach you how to build a wire armature,” Currie said. “So when you’re doing sculpture, what you need to do is build an armature. It’s kind of like the bones, the skeleton of the structure. ... So she’ll teach about building the armature with wire and then building the body with wire as well and other materials.”
The workshop is open to adults and children. The workshop fee is $60 per person of age 11 and older or $80 for one adult with a child of age 10 and under.
Currie’s idea for an arts and crafts shop that uses recycled materials for art supplies came from visiting a shop in Vancouver when she was still living in British Columbia.
“There are just so many supplies that I didn't even know what half of them were, but their colour and texture were so inspiring that whatever you grab and take home and you just create,” she said. “Their selection of recycling materials is huge because there’s so many factories and things in Vancouver that have off cuts. So the materials that they collect are really extraordinary and different.”
She was born in Swift Current, but she was only a month old when her parents moved to British Columbia. Her husband is from Swift Current and six years ago they moved back to the city.
While living in Victoria she collected driftwood, shells and other items on the beach to create art works such as driftwood sculptures.
“I had no money, that’s where I’d go shopping because it’s free, it’s given to me by the earth,” she said. “So I would take these pieces and I would make different things for my family.”
She credits her grandparents for her interest in using recycled materials for her art projects.
“I guess it’s always been something that I’ve been drawn to is to use things and to create with whatever is lying around,” she said. “I think that generation, our grandparents, probably were the greatest recyclers. That was just part of how they lived. They wouldn’t throw things out because everything was useable. So I think I probably gained that sensibility from my grandparents.”
She believes it is important for everyone to explore their creativity and to use that creative spirit to look at the world in a different way.
“So where we think our lives are just stuck in one way, it actually can open us up to a whole different world to explore and to enjoy,” she said. “When we’re in that moment it’s like our soul is yearning for that creativity.”
People will often tell her that they are not really creative, but she believes everyone can be creative.
“You just get a little bit of guidance or a little bit of inspiration that can come out and you don't realize how creative you really are,” she said. “You just need a little nudge and I’m hoping that the shop will inspire people to look at what they’re throwing out in their garbage and look at it in a different way and maybe re-use it for art or bring it to she shop and we’ll organize it and have it there for you to use.”
She has already collected a variety of recycled materials for the shop, including water damaged shelves from a store in Swift Current. She receives bottle caps from a local restaurant, and an upholstery store supplied her with leftover pieces of upholstery and broken tiles.
“If you’ve got stuff that can go to MCC or the Thrift Store or to a shelter, that’s where it should go because people can use it, but if it can’t go there and they won’t accept stuff because it’s broken or it has holes or it just can’t be used by anybody, then I’ll take it instead of throwing it out,” she said.
For more information about the arts and crafts supply shop or to contact Currie, go to the Freestyle Art and Supplies Facebook page.

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